Galvin La Chapelle
I used to pass Galvin on Baker Street every day. I would resolve to try it soon but never did. Not so its sister restaurant Galvin La Chapelle in Spitalfields. Although there is no direct bus or train to the restaurant, the setting is so beautiful that I knew I MUST visit it 😉 The setting is gorgeous! Originating as a charity school in the 1700s, much of the original interior has been preserved.
I do love these old buildings! Some people had it when there are modern additions like the glass mezzanine,but I think this works here 😉 Wasn’t too crazy about the way they redid the “wings” of the restaurant though- doesn’t seem to suit the historic feel of the place? Frankly it just seems a bit dated 😛
Anyway, 2 weeks ago, it was my Mom’s 67th (!!) birthday so I wanted to bring her somewhere special for a meal and, thanks to a Open Table (or Book A Table?) lunch promo for Galvin La Chapelle, I booked us a table there. (£29 for a 3 course lunch and a glass of Brut? AMAZING deal I say!) We went on a Sunday and there was even live music. If I lived closer, I would definitely be a weekend regular! Well, once I actually earn money that is ;P
For starters, I had the cod brandade and my mom the brittany tomatoes and watermelon. She wasn’t sure about the grilled watermelon but was won over after it arrived 😉 My cod was good but nothing earth shattering, especially given the restaurant has a 1 Michelin Star. I suspect it’s more for ambience than food although, having said that, the food is not bad at all! (It just isn’t in the same league as The Greenhouse, a French restaurant in Mayfair- but then that has TWO Michelin stars ;P) Review of The Greenhouse here: https://hapinesswherever.wordpress.com/2015/08/11/the-greenhouse-a-special-restaurant/
You can view the full Sunday menu here: http://www.galvinrestaurants.com/files/GLCSundayLunchMenu.pdf
She then followed it with wild mushroom risotto and I with the Cornish plaice pave- i like eating local when I can! Both were good I thought servings were surprisingly generous for a French place- I have the stereotype of tiny portions in fancy French restaurants stuck in my head i guess!
And to end, my Mom chose the millefeuille and I the apple tartine. I actually wanted a chocolate dessert but it was not on the lunch menu set. I’d have to top up by the full price of the dessert if I went with that so the waiter kindly recommended their specially, the apple tart instead. I’m not sure if it’s because I wanted chocolate, but I found the dessert the most disappointing of the meal. I like a bit of crunch in my food but the apple tart was just all soft apple- the pastry didn’t have the crisp bite I was looking for.
All in all, still an excellent lunch. I would definitely recommend going there to while away a Sunday afternoon. I mean, Brut, good food and live music all for £29? Bargain! Note: there is ONE thing I really didn’t like about Galvin! Which is that I asked for tap water but when the bill came I saw I’d been charged £3.95 for filtered water. Yes, £3.95 isn’t that big a sum of money, but it’s the principle of the matter that counts (to me)- tap water should be free and if you’re charging for it, filtered or not, you should say. After all, for £3.95, I’m pretty sure I could have gotten a bottle of sparkling water instead.
Green House, Mayfair
This week, my Mom turned 67. (She might not be too pleased that I’ve just revealed her age to all the world 😛 Maybe, I should say 6x?) To celebrate the special occasion, we went out for a meal and random googling led me to The Greenhouse (French food), which was having lunch specials for about £35-50. (Prices vary depending on how many courses you are having- starting from 2- wine etc)
The moment we walked into the restaurant, it looked like something special. I hadn’t visited its website so I didn’t know much about it, apart from the fact that it had a 4.7 star rating and a lunch deal 😛 But stepping in immediately made me think Michelin star. (And, true enough, I’ve since found out that it has TWO! £35 for a 2-star lunch: not a bad deal, I’d say :P) Tucked away in Mayfair, it’s only a few minutes walk from the hustle & bustle of Green Park tube station but set in a garden of sculptures, brings to mind a relaxing oasis. I can definitely see myself lunching here often 🙂
The meal starts with 2 canapés. Embarrassingly enough, I’ve sort of forgotten what they were made of. But do I redeem myself if I say they were good??? Since I’ve nothing much to say about them- apart from the fact that my Mom wanted to eat the yellow beans- meant to be decoration!!- I’ve decided to make the photos more artistic 😛
Then came starters. I chose the cheese dish, which was recommended by the waiter. Normally, I find burratas, caprices and other cheese starters OK: difficult to mess up but nothing special either. Boy was I wrong for this one. It was DELICIOUS. The cheese was soooo creamy and tasty. I wish I could have brought some home 😛 Just thinking of it is making me hungry!
For mains, I went with the chicken whilst my Mom chose cod cheeks with grilled octopus (Sounds more interesting right? That was my top choice too but we didn’t want to overlap so I gave way :P)
The chicken was topped with peanuts- reminded me of Singaporean satay!- so had quite a fusion flavour. I typically find chicken very dry in restaurants but this was surprisingly tender and tasty.
My Mom’s octopus was really good too. The only thing I’d improve is maybe cut down on a little salt for this dish- after all, seafood tends to be quite salty already. But it was nothing major, still a very enjoyable dish!
And , since we were in a French restaurant, I had to finish with cheese of course (£10 supplement) 🙂 It came with oatcakes and bread. How fancy, with someone serving you off a tray 🙂 Made me feel quite special! There were 5 cheeses on the platter, ranging from soft to hard. I think they were curated well and all the flavours complemented each other. So much so that I devoured the entire plate. Oops! 😛
And, in typical Michelin style, they sent us off with some free sweeties 🙂 The flavours were really interesting! The red was a pepper flavoured dessert! But boring me still likes the chocolate banana one best 🙂
Will I be back? YOU BET! 🙂 Maybe see you there?
For more information, visit http://www.greenhouserestaurant.co.uk
Update: I went back the next month for dinner and was very disappointed. The food wasn’t as good as I remembered- I chose different dishes- and definitely not up to a 2 Michelin star standard. In addition, the service was quite bad for a Michelin starred restaurant. For example, I was writing down the dish components so I could update you guys and the Maitre’D promised to write them down for me but he didn’t. And I asked him another question which he said he was going to check but again, didn’t. Yes, I could have followed up but at over £100 pp (excluding wine), I don’t think I should have to! I don’t mean to say they were rude or anything- dishes were served promptly etc- but service was very impersonal compared to the typical Michelin experience.
And that’s the crux of it- experience- 2 Michelin starred restaurants don’t just feed you good food, they create an amazing experience, and the Green House didn’t. It’s been over a year since I last went and don’t think I’ll be going back again anytime soon.
One of the best things of living in London (today!) is being in a truly global city. Which means not just getting to try restaurants from all over the world, but also having friends from everywhere stop by! A childhood friend (M) from home was in town for work last month and, not having seen each other in a while, I was really looking forward to meeting her over dinner. She ceded to the “local” prerogative and let me decide on the restaurant.
Unfortunately for me, M actually owns 3 food establishments in Singapore so the pressure was on!( I also hate going to a bad restaurant because it’s such a waste of calories!!) Thankfully, Bloomberg had just published a list of “Best restaurants in London now, chosen by top chefs”. Awesome! Who would know food better than chefs?! I promptly made it a 2015 resolution to eat at every single one. (4 down, 26 to go…) For the list of suggestions, drop by:
My 1st choice was Palomar. 2 month waiting list. (!!) So I emailed Dabbous (duck fat noodles sounded just delish)- I asked for dinner on X date and they told me they had lunch on Y date (without the standard “unfortunately we are full on X… so I wondered if they had even read my email…) Then I called Kitty Fishers- impossible to get hold of. (In the meantime, Dabbous replied and said yes they had dinner for Z. OK, back to the same Q: did you read my email?!)
FINALLY, I managed to get a table for 2 at Brasserie Chavot, a French brasserie helmed by Chef Eric Chavot, protege of Pierre Koffman’s and recommended by Marianne Lumb of Marianne (never been there). Whew.
Being Asian, we ordered “family style” and had a number of dishes to share:
- starter: ceviche of scallops (£13.50)
- starter: escargots en persillade (£12)
- Main: Cassoulet de canard et cochon i.e. duck + pig (£26.50)
Only 3 but then we both had heavy teas. (What were we thinking!)
The food was delicious! I’d never had the escargots in a creamy sauce like that before. The scallop ceviche, although nothing extraordinary, was good and the perfect complement to the heaviness of the other 2 dishes. Speaking of heavy, I’d had cassoulet in Toulouse before and it was OK but rather stodgy and more salty than tasty. (This was in a Top 10 Tripadvisor restaurant and cassoulet is a speciality of the region!) Not so the cassoulet at Brasserie Chavot- just thinking about it makes my mouth water! The meat was tender and the sauce scrumptious.
Prices were on the high side- almost £30 for a main- but then we were in Mayfair. Moreover, the ambience was good. (My friend called it “fine dining”- I wouldn’t go as far but it was definitely at least smart casual.)
Wine menu? I don’t drink much but my M, a budding wine sommelier, was in ecstatics, which I take to be a good sign. Would I go back? You bet!
To reserve, visit: http://www.brasseriechavot.com